Content tagged with "Events"

Spycops and Strikers: From Grunwick to Now

Grunwick pickets in front of policeSpycops and Strikers is a public event in London on 15th February, part of a series of Grunwick 40 memorial events.

In 1976, six workers walked out of Grunwick Film Processing Laboratory in Willesden and ignited an historic two-year dispute which united thousands to demand better rights for poorly treated workers. The workforce had a significant number of Asian women who were at the forefront of the struggle.

The events of 1976-78 are still remembered as an important moment not just in local history, but in the fight for equal rights for women and ethnic minorities. They brought people of different races and backgrounds together in support of the rights of migrant women workers, shattered stereotypes about Asian women in Britain, and changed the face of trade unionism. Grunwick 40 was set up to commemorate this vital moment.

Such a large, diverse and unified movement attracted serious attention from the Metropolitan Police.

Since the exposure of Mark Kennedy as an undercover officer inside the environmental movement in 2010, many more ‘spycops’ have been found out by the activists they spied upon. We now know that since 1968, the Special Demonstration Squad infiltrated political and activist groups that they considered a threat, including the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, anti-apartheid movement and CND.

We also know that prominent supporters of the Grunwick strike were bugged and followed and that there were attempts to infiltrate the strike committee. There is now a judge-led Inquiry into Undercover Policing, the Pitchford Inquiry; should Grunwick strikers and their supporters be involved to find out more?

People supporting the Grunwick Strikers remember the heavy surveillance back in the days. Jack Dromey, secretary of Brent Trades Council at the time of the strike, recalled that:

‘I discovered after the dispute, from good policemen who talked to me in the thirty years since, that I was bugged at home, that the trades and labour hall was bugged, that there was a period that, we were followed, some of us in the dispute, and also attempts were made to infiltrate the strike committee, so there was a high degree of surveillance.

‘It was an extraordinary period of political paranoia, the security services tended to put two and two together and make Moscow.’

In 2006 the Metropolitan Police released an inch-thick file on the Grunwick Industrial Dispute (1976-78), following a Freedom of Information request by journalist Solomon Hughes. The Met confirmed the existence of six relevant files, but decided to only disclose part of the documents. Ever since the Met have tried to bury the papers, even making previously disclosed files secret again.

What was released, is now shared at the Special Branch Files Project, a live-archive of declassified files focussing on the surveillance of political activists and campaigners.

The Grunwick files consist of a collection of Special Branch reports, police reports, and additional memoranda, documenting the policing of the Grunwick pickets, surveillance of strikers and their supporters between June and October 1977.

Join us to discuss political policing and how we should respond to the Inquiry.

SPEAKERS

Eveline Lubbers (Undercover Research Group)
Solomon Hughes (journalist who uncovered secret files on Grunwick)
Harriet Wistrich (lawyer for people spied upon)
Marcia Rigg (Sean Rigg Campaign)
Kevin Blowe (Netpol)

DATE – Wednesday 15 February 2017, 19:00-21:00

VENUE – Malet Suite, Student Central, 2nd Floor, Malet Street London WC1E 7HY

Free entry, though places are limited so it’s advisable to reserve a seat in advance.

Help spread the word with the Facebook event

Organised by Grunwick 40 in co-operation with the Special Branch Files Project, the Undercover Research Group and the Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance.

Home Office: Time for the Truth

A ySpycops protest at Home Office, 20 November 2016ear ago today the Metropolitan Police apologised to seven women who were deceived into relationships with officers from Britain’s politcal secret police squads.

Since then the Met have continued to drag out identical cases with other women they abused. They have  tried to draw a thick veil of secrecy over the forthcoming Pitchford Inquiry, which is so woefully under-resourced that it is behind schedule before it has even begun.

The Met are still refusing to be accountable, compounding the damage done to citizens.

This afternoon campaigners gathered at the Home Office demanding an end to obfuscation with this statement:

Political Undercover Policing: Time For The Truth

In March 2015 Theresa May, as Home Secretary, ordered a Public Inquiry into Undercover Policing in England and Wales. This followed from shocking revelations made by campaigners, whistleblowers and journalists that since at least 1968 there had been secret political policing units in the UK infiltrating protests groups in order to obtain so called ‘intelligence’ on those movements.

As part of this, undercover police officers were revealed to have:

  • spied on people campaigning for social justice and/or environmental sustainability
  • even spied on grieving families & friends of people who had lost loved ones to racist or police violence or negligence, who were seeking truth & accountability
  • deceived women into relationships while undercover, even fathering children
  • illegally given people’s personal details to private companies who blacklist trade unionists and other campaigners
  • stolen the identities of dead children

The Public Inquiry started in July 2015 but victims of this police spying have learned nothing so far about how and why this spying occurred. Instead they have been sidelined by the Inquiry while the police who are responsible for the abuse have been allowed to continue their cover up and delay and frustrate the purpose of the Inquiry.

It is exactly a year since seven of the women who were deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover police officers were given a public apology by the police who acknowledged that the relationships amounted to an abuse of the women’s human rights. But despite this, no information has been provided about how these relationships were allowed to happen and the police even still ludicrously refuse to admit the names of some of these officers.

Over 180 victims have been granted ‘core participant’ status at the Inquiry, but they are only allowed to represented by one barrister who has to agree responses on important issues without being able to consult. In contrast, the police have been allowed four barristers. Spycops protest at Home Office entrance

On top of this, while the Home Office has provided funding for 63 staff for Operation Herne, the police’s own widely discredited investigation into undercover policing, the Public Inquiry team has just 27 staff and so far does not even have a working secure computer on which to store the massive volume of documents created by Britain’s secret political policing units.

All this facilitates the police in being able to cover up their abuses and in preventing victims and the wider public from learning the truth about political undercover policing in the UK.

The Home Office has also so far refused to extend the Inquiry to include the activities of these officers when they left England & Wales.

Even Scotland has not been included – how can the Inquiry gain a true picture when so much remains hidden from it and the public?

Enough is enough. We demand:

  • the release of the cover names of all the officers in these political undercover units and the names of all the groups spied on, so that people can then give evidence to the Inquiry about the actions and effects of these spies
  • secret files are released to the campaigners and politicians who were spied on
  • funds are redirected away from Operation Herne to the Inquiry
  • the actions of these officers are investigated whichever country they took place in
  • an end to the police cover up We should all be concerned about the existence of secret political police – they undermine and prevent social change so protecting the interests of the wealthy & powerful rather than everyone else.

Video: Voices of the Spied Upon

New on our Youtube channel – video of the speakers at our ‘Voices of the Spied Upon’ meeting at the University of London, 10 October 2016.

Lisa Jones was an environmental and social justice activist. In 2010 she discovered that her partner of six years, Mark Stone, was actually Mark Kennedy of Britain’s political secret police unit, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

She gathered evidence, confronted and exposed him. This began a slew of revelations that dragged the murky world of the political secret police into the light.

Eschewing media exposure, Jones was one of eight women who took legal action against the police and, after a gruelling four years, received an unprecedented apology in November 2015.

In this, her first public speech, she talks about Kennedy, the court case, political policing, the forthcoming public inquiry and her hopes for the future.

‘Lisa Jones’ is a pseudonym. She has been granted an anonymity order by the courts to protect her identity, and this video has been made without breach of that.


Duwayne Brooks was the main witness to the murder of his friend Stephen Lawrence in 1993. This began a campaign of persecution by the Metropolitan Police.

Special Demonstration Squad whistleblower Peter Francis has described spending hours combing footage of demonstrations, trying to find anything to get Brooks charged. He was arrested numerous times and on two separate occasions he was brought to court on charges so trumped up that they were dismissed without him even speaking.

The Met have admitted that, years after Stephen Lawrence’s murder, police were bugging meetings with Brooks and his lawyer.

A veteran of the machinery of inquiries, a repeated victim of spycops, as the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing looms, Brooks’ experience and perspective is especially important and pertinent.


Tamsin Allen has represented many clients who were spied on by political secret police. She is a partner at Bindmans, a law firm who were monitored by the Special Demonstration Squad.

She has represented victims at the Leveson Inquiry into tabloid newspaper phone hacking and improper relationships between police and journalists. She is representing members of parliament who were monitored by spycops.

Her experience of public inquiries held under the Inquiries Act puts her in an invaluable position as we prepare for the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing. Here, she talks about the issues with setting up the inquiry and what we can expect from it.


Ricky Tomlinson, before we knew him on TV as Jim Royle or Brookside’s Bobby Grant, was a construction worker and trade unionist.

In 1972 he took an active part in the first ever national building workers’ strike. Tomlinson was among 24 people subsequently arrested for picketing in Shrewsbury. Government papers now show collusion between police, security services and politicians to ensure these people were prosecuted. Six, including Tomlinson, were jailed.

He is one of several high-profile figures who, despite concrete evidence of being targeted by spycops, has been denied ‘core participant’ status at the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing.

Public Meeting: Voices of the Spied Upon

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance is proud to announce the next Voices of the Spied Upon public meeting.

On Monday 10 October 2016 at the University of London, we will bring together four very different people who have been affected by Britain’s political secret police. They will speak of their personal experience, allied spycops struggles, and the path ahead to justice.

Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson

Ricky Tomlinson – before we knew him as Jim Royle or Brookside’s Bobby Grant – was a construction worker and trade unionist.

In 1972 he took an active part in the first ever national building workers’ strike. Tomlinson was among 24 people arrested for picketing in Shrewsbury. Government papers now show collusion between police, security services and politicians to ensure these people were prosecuted. Six, including Tomlinson, were jailed.

He is one of several high-profile figures who, despite concrete evidence of being targeted by spycops, has been denied ‘core participant’ status at the Pitchford Inquiry.

Lisa Jones with Mark Kennedy

Lisa Jones with Mark Kennedy

Lisa Jones was an environmental and social justice activist. In 2010 she discovered that her partner of six years, Mark Stone, was actually undercover police officer Mark Kennedy.

She gathered evidence, confronted and exposed him. This began a slew of revelations that dragged the murky world of the political secret police into the light.

Eschewing media exposure, Jones was one of eight women who took legal action against the police and, after a gruelling four years, received an unprecedented apology late last year. Now she is coming forward to tell the story for herself.

Duwayne Brooks

Duwayne Brooks

Duwayne Brooks was the main witness to the murder of his friend Stephen Lawrence. This began a campaign of persecution by the Metropolitan Police.

Special Demonstration Squad whistleblower Peter Francis has described spending hours combing footage of demonstrations, trying to find anything to get Brooks charged.

On two separate occasions he was brought to court on charges so trumped up that they were dismissed without him even speaking.

The Met have admitted that, years after Stephen Lawrence’s murder, police were bugging meetings with Brooks and his lawyer. A veteran of the machinery of inquiries, a repeated victim of spycops, his experience is especially important and pertinent.

Tamsin Allen

Tamsin Allen

Tamsin Allen is a partner at Bindmans, a law firm who were themselves monitored by the Special Demonstration Squad.

She has represented many clients who were spied on by political police.

She has also represented victims at the Leveson Inquiry and is currently representing members of parliament who were monitored by spycops.

Her experience of public inquiries held under the Inquiries Act puts her in an invaluable position as the Pitchford inquiry looms.

DATE: Monday 10 October, 7-9pm

LOCATION: The Venue, University of London, Malet Street WC1E 7HY

Entry is free, but as places are limited it is advisable to book. Reserved spaces will be held until 18.50 on the day, after which people without reservations will be given entry.

Book your place at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/voices-of-the-spied-upon-tickets-27743181603

You can also spread the word through the Facebook event.

 

Voices of the Spied Upon October meeting poster

Subversion, sabotage and spying: Political policing and racism in the UK

The Monitoring Group logoThe full line up and timetable of April’s crucial spycops conference has been released.

Building on a hugely successful conference in 2015,  The Monitoring Group and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies have teamed up again to produce an impressive line up of speakers to examine the role and impact of undercover policing and the surveillance of protest groups and ‘suspect communities’.

Hosted by London South Bank University School of Law & Social Sciences, the conference is supported by Imran Khan and Partners and Tottenham Rights.

About the conference

Government policy continues to invent and punish ‘suspect and targeted communities’ and frustrate genuine attempts to hold its agencies to account. This event will examine the history and disastrous impact of the policing of social and justice movements. It will open a dialogue on ‘accountability’ so that a long-awaited ‘momentum for change’ can be driven by those directly affected by disproportionality and discrimination.

In light of the upcoming Undercover Policing Inquiry the conference will seek to develop a strategic alliance between those directly affected by undercover policing (so far 170+ non-state individuals have been granted core participant status at the Inquiry), civil society and the public so that the Inquiry adopts a broader, open and more rigorous approach.

Register now

Registrations are now open. Please help spread the word about the conference via your networks, using this link.

Agenda and Speakers

Saturday: Policing of black, asian and ‘suspect communities’ – spying, lying, dying and racism

09.30   Registration

10.00   Welcome

10.15   Political policing: Setting the context — Mark McGovern, Tony Bunyan, Colin Prescod

11.15   Question and answer session

11.30   Break

11.45   Policing of ‘suspect communities’  —  Paddy Hill, Salma Yaqoob (TBC), Patrick Williams, Gareth Peirce, and John McDonnell MP, the Shadow Chancellor

12.45   Question and answer session

12.55   Introduction to the workshop leaders

13.00   Lunch

13.45   Workshops

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance, Undercover Research Group, Blacklisted Trade Unionists, Black Justice Campaigns; JENGbA

14.45   From ‘suspect communities’ to targeting of campaigns against injustice – Suresh Grover and Deborah Coles

15.15   Question and answer session

15.30   Break

15.45   Why the Undercover Policing Inquiry is important –  Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Imran Khan, Kate Wilson, Stafford Scott

16.45   Question and answer session

17.00   Close

Sunday: Spycops and the Undercover Policing Inquiry – is accountability possible or a pipe dream?

10.00   Registration

10.30   History of the Special Demonstration Squad and Spycops, Hearne and Ellison – Rob Evans

10.50   Question and answer session

11.00   Spycops – The spied upon speak out –  Baroness Jenny Jones, Piers Corbyn, Helen Steel, Dave Smith, John Monerville, Mark Wadsworth

12.00   Question and answer session

12.30   Spycops – the hidden voices –  Janet Alder, Alastair Morgan

13.00   Lunch

The post lunch session will focus on the challenges posed by the Undercover Policing Inquiry and how to address them

13.45   Spycops – a voice that should be heard —  Statement from Peter Francis Ex-Special Demonstration Squad

14.00   An overview of the Undercover Policing Inquiry to date

Speakers to be announced

14.30   Holding the Inquiry to account —  Shamik Dutta, Courtenay Griffiths QC, Imran Khan, Harriet Wistrich, Michael Mansfield QC

15.00   Break

15.15   Workshops on the Undercover Policing Inquiry

Workshops to be announced

16.20   Feedback from workshops

16.45   Conclusions and next steps

17.00   Close

The timetable may be subject to change due to developments around the Inquiry. Delegates will be informed of any changes.

Video: Voices of the Spied On

On 21 January we held a Voices of the Spied On public meeting, and videos of the four panellists’ speeches are now on our Youtube channel.

Janet Alder has been a tireless campaigner for justice for her brother Christopher who was killed by Humberside police in 1998. Police admit repeatedly putting her under surveillance, yet she has been denied ‘core participant’ status at the Pitchford inquiry into undercover policing.

Stafford Scott has been a key figure in numerous black community and family justice campaigns. He was co-ordinator of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign and is now race advocacy officer at the Monitoring Group.

The exposure of undercover police adds a new sinister dimension to the state repression he has devoted himself to opposing, with campaigns being infiltrated and undermined by officers.

Kate Wilson is an environmental and social justice activist who was deceived into a long-term relationship by undercover police officer Mark Kennedy. This, her first UK public talk on the subject, came five days after she won a gruelling four year legal battle to have the Metropolitan Police held accountable for Kennedy’s abuse.

Jules Carey is a human rights lawyer at Bindmans of London, representing many of the people targeted by Britain’s political secret police.

His clients include Jacqui, the first case the Met settled with a woman deceived into a relationship by an undercover officer, and other similar clients whose cases are ongoing. He also represents Barbara Shaw, mother of Rod Richardson, a dead child whose identity was stolen by an undercover police officer.

Here he talks about the forthcoming Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing.

COPS Public Meeting, Thursday 21 January

COPS public meeting 21 January 2016

 

As the scandal of Britain’s political secret police continues to grow, and with a full scale public inquiry imminent, come and hear from those who were targeted by spycops and are leading the fight for justice.

On Thursday 21 January we are hosting a public meeting in London.

On the panel are:

Kate Wilson
Kate WilsonThe first UK public talk by this social justice activist who was deceived into a long-term relationship by undercover officer Mark Kennedy.

Wilson is one of eight women who collectively took legal action against the police. In doing so they demonstrated that these were not ‘rogue officers’, but the similarity of their experiences proves that what happened to them was accepted strategy.

Their tenacity forced the Met to issue an extraordinary apology in November. Wilson’s case continues.

Janet Alder
janet Tireless campaigner for justice for her brother Christopher who was killed by police in 1999. Despite the inquest’s finding of unlawful killing, no officers were convicted.

Christopher’s body was subjected to a series of indignities, police admit to repeatedly spying on her and attempting to spy on her lawyer, they snooped into her past to smear her, and despite all this she has been denied ‘core participant’ status at the public inquiry.

Stafford Scott
stafford A key figure in numerous black community and family justice campaigns, formerly co-ordinator of the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign, Scott is now race advocacy officer at the Monitoring Group.

The exposure of undercover police adds a new sinister dimension to the state repression he has devoted himself to opposing, with campaigns being infiltrated and undermined by officers.

 

Jules Carey
julesA human rights lawyer at Bindmans, Carey represents many of the people targeted by spycops.

His clients include Jacqui, the first case the Met settled with a woman deceived into a relationship by an undercover officer, and other similar clients whose cases are ongoing.

He also represents Barbara Shaw, mother of a dead child whose identity was stolen by an undercover police officer.

Chair: The meeting will be chaired by Lois Austin, ex chair of Youth Against Racism in Europe, who were also infiltrated by undercover police.

WHEN: Thursday 21 January, 6.30-8.30pm

WHERE: Diskus Room, Unite the Union, 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN

FREE ADMISSION

There will be plenty of time for questions from the floor.

Any Means Necessary: Spycops on Stage

Any Means NecessaryMark Kennedy’ spent his seven year deployment living in Nottingham. His infiltration of activists planning to shut down Nottinghamshire’s Ratcliffe on Soar coal fired power station led to the collapse of a trial, catapulting the issue to national awareness and starting the slew of revelations that is still flowing forth.

Nottingham Playhouse have commissioned a play, Any Means Necessary, based on events around the Ratcliffe action.

Award-winning writer Kefi Chadwick spent over a year researching the piece, speaking to many of the activists who were spied on as well as the legal teams who represent them.

Drawing from the experience of numerous people targeted by political secret police – far beyond just Kennedy – Any Means Necessary conveys the human cost of the spycops scandal.

Chadwick said, “these cases show an incredible abuse of human rights and civil liberties and are one of the biggest police scandals of all time. To be able to bring the events to life on the stage at Nottingham where one of the worst offenders lived and spied is a great privilege and an important part of the victims right to have their stories heard.”

Directed by Giles Croft as part of the Nottingham Playhouse’s Conspiracy season, Any Means Necessary runs from 5th to 20th February 2016.

Tickets start at £10.50 and can be booked from Nottingham Playhouse

There are some audio described, sign interpreted and captioned performances.

 

Picket High Court Before Spycops Case

Neither Confirm Nor Deny = Neither Truth Nor JusticeFollowing the infiltration of Cardiff Anarchist Network by an undercover police officer calling himself “Marco Jacobs” a number of activists are taking legal action against South Wales Police and the Metropolitan Police in an attempt to hold the system to account.

Since they first filed an application in court, both sets of Police lawyers have attempted to obstruct justice, giving a “Neither Confirm Nor Deny” defence of all aspects of officer Jacobs’ deployment.

At 10am on Wednesday 25th March they will be in the Royal Courts of Justice attempting to strike out this non-defence.

Join us in a solidarity picket of the court an hour before the case starts.

Blacklisted: The Book

Blacklisted cover

The new book Blacklisted: The Secret War between Big Business and Union Activists tells the controversial story of the illegal strategies that transnational construction companies resorted to in their attempt to keep union activists away from their places of work. This is a story of a bitter struggle, in which collusion with the police and security services resulted in victimization, violence and unemployment, with terrible effects on families and communities.

Drawing on first-hand accounts of the workers, Blacklisted reveals how, when major construction projects were unionized, those involved were unlawfully victimized. From the building sites to the High Court, this is a story of ordinary working people taking on some of the most powerful transnational companies in the world.

With a full inquiry promised by the Labour party, the practice of blacklisting is set to become a hot topic in the May general election.

The book also reveals how blacklisting extended beyond construction activists to environmental campaigners, journalists, politicians and academics. And it adds an international perspective with related stories from America and Europe.

It can be ordered direct from publishers New Internationalist for £7.99 plus postage.

There is a launch on Thursday March 12 in Committee Room 15 at the Houses of Parliament, 6-8pm. It’s free and all are welcome. There will be drinks and book signing afterwards at the Red Lion, Whitehall. Other events are being planned around the country and will appear on this website’s calendar as they are confirmed.